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Sailing towards success

India is strategically located on the world’s shipping routes with a coastline of approximately 7,517 km. Maritime transport handles around 70% of India’s trading in value terms. The government has also introduced various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for enterprises that develop, maintain and operate ports, inland waterways and shipbuilding in India.

The Government launched the ambitious Sagarmala Programme in March 2017, with the vision of port-led development and growth of logistics intensive industries. Under Sagarmala Programme, USD 123 bn would be invested across 415 projects across the following identified components:

1. Port Modernization & New Port Development 
2. Port Connectivity Enhancement 
3. Port-linked Industrialization
4. Coastal Community Development 

Key impacts of the Sagarmala programme are: 

  •  USD 61.6 bn Infrastructure investment mobilization 
  •  Double the share of waterways of inland and coastal in modal mix from current 6%
  •  USD 5.3 bn – 6.1 bn, logistics cost saving per annum 
  •  USD 110 bn, boost to exports 
  •  4 mn new direct jobs and 6 mn indirect jobs.
  •  415 projects with an investment of USD 123 bn and 6 new ports identified under Sagarmala


100% FDI allowed under both government and automatic route.

for more details refer FDI Policy 2017


  • Annual cargo traffic doubled to 1 bn tonnes p.a. over the decade starting 2005
  • 16th largest maritime country in the world
  • Seaborne trade in India has grown at twice the global growth rate of 3.3%

Industry Scenario

Cargo traffic on the rise

India has 12 major and 200 non-major/intermediate ports (under state government administration). Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust is the largest major port in India, while Mudra is the largest private port. Cargo traffic in the country is expected to rise to 2500 MT by 2024-25 from 1,072.23 MT in 2015-16. The major ports in India collectively handled 679.4 MT of cargo during 2017-18 compared to 648.4 MT a year ago; thereby registering a growth of 4.8%.

  •  Cargo traffic handled by India’s major ports increased 5.5% y-o-y to 113.6 mn tonnes (MT) during April-May 2017
  •  118 maritime projects requiring USD 7.7 bn investment have been approved in the last four years
  •  Major ports recorded highest ever capacity addition of 100.4 MMTPA in 2016-17

Growth Drivers

Ports GD
  • Total cargo traffic (Apr-Dec 2016)

    837 MT

  • Cargo traffic growth


  • Indian fleet strength (no. of vessels)


  • Capacity addition (2016-17)

    100.4 MT

Key policies

Major Ports Authority Bill, 2016

A Bill to provide for regulation, operation and planning of major ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports to the Boards of Major Port Authorities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016

A Bill to consolidate and amend the law relating to merchant shipping to ensure compliance with the country's obligation under the maritime treaties and international instruments to which India is a party. Also, to ensure the efficient maintenance of Indian mercantile marine in a manner best suited to serve the country's interest.

National Waterways Act, 2016

An Act to make provisions for existing national waterways and to provide for the declaration of certain inland waterways to be national waterways. Also the Act provides for the regulation and development of the said waterways for the purposes of shipping and navigation and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

New Ship Building Policy

The New Ship Building Policy (NSBP) policy as well as the guidelines are applicable to all the Indian shipyards. Only those vessels, which are constructed and delivered within a period of three years from the date of contract, shall be eligible for availing financial assistance under the policy. Provided that, in case of specialized vessels, the competent authority may grant in principle, approval for construction and delivery of such vessels, within a specific period even beyond the aforesaid three years, but not exceeding six years. When the shipyard applies for such approval for the vessel under the policy guidelines and thereafter, the delivery period provided for in this clause shall be the extended period as permitted by the competent authority.

FDI Facts

  • FDI inflows (in USD) during April 2000 - December 2017

  • Growth in FDI during 2014-17 vis-a-vis 2011-14

  • FDI allowed in port and harbor's construction and maintenance

Recent Investments

  • May 2017 - DP World Pvt. Ltd,world’s fourth biggest container port operator, plans to invest over USD 1 bn in India, which will be used for augmenting its port-related operations. has received up to USD 220 mn in FDI in the last two years.

  • March 2016 - NCY Equity Growth and Niche Investments Holding Pvt Ltd have invested up to USD 441 mn in Indian company Sterling Port Ltd.

  • August 2015 - PSA International of Singapore started building the country’s largest container terminal at JNPT terminal. The project is valued at USD 1.2 bn and is going to be developed in two phases, each phase adding 2.4 mn TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent unit). The first phase is targeted to be completed in 2018.

Major Investors